show me a sign


My husband and I sign with DD. And she signs back. I knew this was something I wanted to do when I saw a friend’s daughter signing at around 14 months of age. I wasn’t even pregnant yet but I marvelled at the way this toddler could communicate what she wanted; what she felt and thought inside.

We started signing to DD when she was about 7 months old. We of course didn’t expect much in return at that point but it was something fun to do.

A few months later, I borrowed these Baby Signing Time videos from the neighbourhood Ontario Early Years Centre. DD loved them.

In the videos, American Sign Language (ASL) is taught through song by Rachel Coleman (aka @ST_Rachel on Twitter). Rachel is the co-creator of the Baby Signing Time and Signing Time series, and the videos feature Rachel and children signing and doing everyday activities. The songs are original and make the signs fun to learn.

Below is a preview of the song “Here I Go” from Volume 2 of the series. It is also my favourite Baby Signing Time song. I defy you not to sing along. 😉

Eventually DD came to understand the signs but interestingly would only sign a few words: all done, milk and ball. For months that was it. She understood many other signs and yet, wouldn’t sign them.

Well, last month, DD became a signing superstar. It happened in the space of two weeks and we recognized the development because we were all on vacation out west when it happened.

Now 14 months old, DD signs all the time and it’s a beautiful thing. When DD wants to watch a Baby Signing Time video, she signs baby + signing (she hasn’t quite grasped the sign for time yet). Her whole body wriggles in excitement as she signs those two words.

I hope DD continues to show an interest in signing because it is so wonderful to see her communicate her thoughts and desires well before she can talk (I mean, she says a few words but for the most part she does a lot of pointing and earnest grunting).

And while signing helps with brain development – she is learning a language after all – I am also (fingers crossed) hoping that DD’s ability to communicate through sign will help stave off those dreaded toddler tantrums. You know…the ones that arise from a frustration in the inability to  communicate.

I’m curious, do you – or did you – sign with your children? Did you find it beneficial?

ps: for a local Signing Time resource, including signing classes based on the Signing Time series, check out

4 Responses to “show me a sign”

  1. Nancy

    Thanks for this post Mel. I would love to start signing with DS, but haven’t looked into it much. To date he hasn’t watched any TV – I just don’t have it on during the day, since I don’t want to use it as a babysitter, and he plays so very well by himself or with me. Are these the only videos that DD watches?

    • melgallant

      Hi Nancy,

      I totally know where you’re coming from. I don’t like DD watching TV either. Yes, Baby Signing Time is the only TV/videos she watches. The videos are short too (maybe 20 minutes max). Sometimes we only put it on for a song or two. I like that the videos are educational – that’s one way that I justify the “TV time”. And I know she’s learning because she’s signing! 😉

  2. Alicia

    Fun! Isn’t it amazing when it just clicks and they start signing back? I did a little baby signing with my son and his favourite signs were more, hat and light. He made his first sign around 10 months but I kinda gave it up after 13 months because he started talking so much. I kinda wish I continued it but he is very verbal now and can use his words. I found it to be a lot of fun!
    P.S. Just found your blog so this comment is a little late 🙂

    • melgallant

      Hi Alicia,

      It is amazing! We have so much fun with it too. DD is starting to talk now but she’ll often use her signs at the same time. I’m just so glad that she enjoys it because I do – lol! We’ll keep up the signing until she loses interest. We have CDs of some of the Baby Signing Time songs so we’ll probably keep singing those for a few years yet. The songs are so good!

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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